When the soma of almost all the women in the world come through a single spout, it’s going to be quite the show.
What They Say:
The relationship between a Qwaser and his Maria, the woman who provides him with the sustaining soma that he needs to fuel his elemental powers, is already a strange and twisted one, but as the battle for the High Circuit escalates to a insane crescendo, a completely unexpected question arises: can exposure to beings with superpowers actually be contagious? The answer could prove deadly as Miyuri goes through a most unexpected transformation!
Meanwhile, Mafuyu finds herself even more conflicted over her relationship with Sasha as he slowly recovers from his strange amnesia, while Elizabeth fears having to choose between Shin’ichiro and her friends. As new waves of adepts attack, the milk of human kindness alone won’t be enough to nip tragedy in the bud, and the survival of each pairing may ultimately depend upon the courage within each maiden’s breast!
Contains episodes 13-24.
The audio presentation for this series is presented in its original Japanese language only in stereo and encoded at 224kbps. The series works a good blend of action and dialogue – and moaning – in order to tell its tale and all three areas are well handled. The action uses the left and right channels pretty solidly as events unfold across the screen and there’s a decent bit of impact to all of it as well. Dialogue is straightforward as it runs from the lows to the highs as characters yell from place to place and there’s some good directionality and placement to it, though depth is less of an issue here. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2010, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The twelve episodes for this first half of the series are spread evenly across two discs with six on each. With animation by Hoods Entertainment, the show has a really good bright and vivid look about it with plenty of detail where it counts. There’s a glossy nature to how certain aspects of anatomy are conveyed and it gives it a vividness that really shines through. There’s a lot of variety to what’s going on here with character designs and powers as well as school uniforms and the like and it all looks quite good. Beyond a couple of very small instances line noise, the show is generally strong and appealing.
The cover art for this release is pretty tame compared to the show itself, which is an amusing aspect to it. The front cover provides a look at both Sasha and Mafuyu while Mafuyu gets the primary position here with a bigger shot and obviously a more fanservice oriented design while still oing hugely overt. The colors tend to be a bight brighter here but it still has some darker elements with the blacks and reds in the background. The logo has a block feel to it that leaves an impact but doesn’t exactly stand out in a memorable way. The back cover provides a mix of shots from the show and some character artwork, but as much as it might tease the sexuality inside, it doesn’t really make it blatant. The tagline and plot summary cover things well but again, it keeps it pretty tame which is amusing. The production credits lists everything clearly in an easy to read form while the technical grid lists all those details accurately and without problem. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for the release is simple but well done overall as it splits the screen in half almost. The left half has the breakdown of episodes by title and number with a cute cursor for it and it changes up the colors overall along the episode list chart. The right side provides the artwork as it uses pieces from the cover art, though not exactly the same way. They’re bright, colorful and feel more engaging than the cover artwork when you get down to it. Being a single language release, submenus are relegated to just the special features section on the first disc. Everything loads quickly, smoothly and without any problems.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Qwaser of Stigmata had a pretty good first half of the series as it introduced a lot of different things with how this particular world works. If you removed the whole sucking soma out of the girls breasts angle, there is a sense that most of what you get here is essentially what many series of this nature are like. And through that, I was able to view the series in that context while adding on the high level of fanservice and sexuality that invariably seems to turn off a whole lot of anime fandom. While some of it, well, most of it is comical in its nature when you really look at it, I have to admit it worked really well for me and allowed the show to simply do something different to stand out. While the show isn’t really all that groundbreaking in terms of story, hence the grade itself, I’ll easily admit to enjoying its particular style.
With the second half of the series, things work in a rather difficult way overall at the start before it gets back on track. The fun of having Sasha without any real sense of memory or self in the first couple of episodes allows everyone to mess with him in different ways, including a lot of playing him up as a girl and bathing with him and the like. There’s a lot to enjoy in that realm since you want to be him with the way they all cuddle with him and he gets to be that close, but it’s also something that you know won’t last long. They play it up for about two episodes before the third one starts fixing things and through a bit of violence we get the Sasha we’re supposed to have back, with a vengeance at that. But at the same time, you kind of miss the sweet side of where we saw how Tomo and Mafuyu would read him books (nakedly) and they had a cute quasi-family thing going on.
While we do get a side story involving Miyuri as well, which involves her saving a girlish Sasha from a group of bad young men, the show does get itself back on track as the various forces working towards the prophecy side of things comes into play more. The two main sides operating here gets a little more complicated, though I loved the arrival of Mutsumi into the show since she’s just so commandeering with Sasha, and we see how the Adept’s and the older order work against each other only to end up in a kind of alliance as it progresses. With the search for the Tsarystin as the main focus, and Sasha and Mafuyu figuring out how to access it, the larger evil of the series takes a more forceful approach as the Qwaser of Gold that Sasha has had such a history with takes over Tomo and uses her, which of course motivates Sasha to get things figured out.
The series does go for a fairly big approach as it gets into the final run of episodes and there’s a whole lot of action to be had amongst all the fighters that are brought into the show, old and new, that have a lengthy history with many of the characters. It gets a little big and confusing at times since you’re not quite sure where some of the alliances are standing at any given time, but the show does work to really use the main characters in a fun way. Mafuyu’s been a key character from the start and we see that her growth bring her to becoming the Sword of Maria along the way, a neat little visual addition to her body. But when she’s captured and used as a way to access what the Gold really wants, we see how her power – and herself as a container – are very different from what’s understood. Essentially stealing slight bits of soma from women all over the world, she becomes a figurative fountain of soma that gushes out and really takes down some of those that were holding her in a big way. Too much of a good thing to be sure.
Thankfully, the series does give us an epilogue episode where a lot of the minor fallout is dealt with and we see how everyone is recovering and some of the minor changes in a few of the characters. The main thrust, which isn’t a surprise is to see how the dynamic between Sasha and Mafuyu is now that it’s been made clearer that they do have a connection to each other. Her dreams are quite amusing to watch since she’s so enraptured by him, even if some of it may be from the excessive soma she had before. The two are definitely a cute couple overall, even if they never do any real date kinds of things, as the banter has been what’s worked and the way that Tomo has always tried to make them comfortable with each other through her. Between the time spent with them and the looks at other characters, such as Katja’s time with her minion and others brings it all to conclusion well, while obviously leaving plenty of things open since there’s another season ahead.
Qwaser of Stigmata is a controversial series for many simply because it takes the sexuality that’s burning below the surface of so many series and just rips open its tops (and bottoms) for all to see. And I love it. The story itself is fairly traditional and without much in the way of surprises, but it executes it in a big and fun way while not holding back from sucking down lots of breasts, exposing plenty of soma and showing plenty of naked characters. While many fans are fine with the teasing elements other shows bring in, being blunt tends to not go over well for a lot of reasons. But this show basically takes a regular series, gives it some near-hentai aspects to it and just runs with it while having fun. And I had a lot of fun with this show even if the overall storyline was weak. I like the characters, their interactions and the copious amounts of nudity. And I hope thing ramp up even more for the next season, which I can’t wait to see.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.